Paris advises Haftar to accept talks with PC

Paris advises Haftar to accept talks with PC

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Editorial

Relevant sources said that the French Ambassador to Libya, Brigitte Curmi, had a lengthy meeting with the commander of the army of the House of Representatives (HoR), General Khalifa Haftar, who conveyed his intention to control power inside Libya and that he is not ready for talks with any party.

French and Libyan sources said that both Haftar and Curmi had arguments, she advised him to speak with all sides, refrain from using force to impose power, as if he insists he would disagree with France and Europe, and will eventually fail. She also told him that “circles with influence in France think that any attempts from his side to forcefully gain power will escalate conflicts and the civil war.”

Sources also said that Egypt wants a political settlement to the crisis in Libya, which favors Haftar, which means that Cairo thinks Haftar won’t be able to control Tripoli.

The same sources said that Cairo, the same as Paris, is pressuring for a political bargain, which sides Haftar but in partnership with the real civil authority of the head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj.

The sources said that the deteriorating relations between Egypt and Islamists made it unable to reach a political settlement where Haftar possess power and hopes the US President, Donald Trump, would help.

The sources pointed to conflicting opinions inside France between the presidency and the Defense Ministry from one side, and the Foreign Department from the other side. The first camp sees no problem if any party can push towards a political resolution, while the Foreign Ministry says that Haftar forces are focusing on Salafists.

The French presidency and the Defense Ministry say that the security should be handed to Haftar, as he is the only party capable of restoring security, unlike Al-Sarraj.

According to Reuters, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry,  Maria Zakharova, said that Al-Sarraj is likely to visit Moscow this month, in the latest sign of Russian attempt to have a bigger role in Libya.

She added that “we continue working with both power brokers in Libya, try to persuade them to bypass the internal differences, and achieve middle solutions.”

Russia welcomed Haftar last month on the board one of its naval vessels, following his visit to Moscow. His cooperation with Russia comes in a time when the PC is facing many internal crises. The Western officials see the PC as the only way for stability in Libya.

A military source said, on Wednesday, that 70 of Haftar forces were sent to Russia for treatment, in first signs of cooperation between Moscow and one of the armed militias inside Libya.